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How Can I Put My Cat on a Diet?

one scientific study concluded that 53 percent of cats in the U.S. are either overweight or obese — your not-quite-svelte feline may need to quit the clean plate club. Tubby tabbies face an array of possible health problems, including arthritis, diabetes, heart, and liver issues, Put My Cat on a Diet average

They may also suffer illnesses, such as bladder stones or skin conditions that require special eating habits. And diabetic cats need strictly monitored care and feeding. But getting a cat to follow any diet, not of his own choosing isn’t as simple as cutting out treats and serving tiny portions. Knowing what to expect as you alter your cat’s meal plan will help you to keep him on the right nutritional path.

When should a plump cat slim down?
Most vets classify a cat with more than 20 percent body fat as overweight, but more simply, if the feline profile viewed from above has no waistline or an abdominal tuck, the cat is too fat. You should be able to feel, but not see, his ribs. He shouldn’t have folds of swinging fat when he walks. A cat’s ideal weight depends on age, breed, lifestyle, bone structure, and gender, but the average adult cat generally tips the scales at 7 to 11 pounds (3.1 to 4.9 kilograms), with females weighing less.

Does my cat need to go on a diet?
Says Dr. kristina.karelina To stay healthy, cats should shed pounds gradually, losing no more than 0.5 to 2 percent of his total weight per week. For instance, a 20-pound (9-kilogram) cat should drop no more than about a pound (453 grams) in a month. … Excess weight isn’t the only reason cats need to be on diets.

How much should I feed my cat on a diet?
Says Dr. Hanen Abdel Rahman As a general rule of thumb, daily intake of dry food for the average 10-pound cat should be between 1/2 and 2/3 cup. If canned food is fed, dry food should be decreased accordingly.

Helping a cat adapt to his new eating plan requires patience. A cat accustomed to free-feeding all day long may be confused or unhappy about structured mealtimes, especially when dinner is a small ration or a strange food with an unexpected taste or texture. He may initially reject the new menu, stalking away from his dish in visible displeasure. If the cat leaves his food untouched or unfinished, remove it after 30 minutes, and try again at the next scheduled mealtime. An aromatic spoonful of beef or chicken broth poured over the new food will pique his appetite. Hunger will eventually prevail, prompting the cat to consume his diet meals.

said Dr. Hanen Abdel Rahma To stay healthy, cats should shed pounds gradually, losing no more than 0.5 to 2 percent of his total weight per week. For instance, a 20-pound (9-kilogram) cat should drop no more than about a pound (453 grams) in a month. Losing too quickly can create problems: The cat could develop serious liver disease, or the lost weight could reappear. If the cat is dropping weight too quickly, consult your vet, who may adjust the meal size or calorie count, or recommend vitamin supplements.

Excess weight isn’t the only reason cats need to be on diets. Your vet may prescribe a formula food that targets the animal’s medical conditions, from hairballs to dental disease to the bladder or urinary tract infections. Cats with food allergies react adversely to the protein in most cat foods and require nutrition especially formulated to their sensitive systems.

RELATED: How To Feed A Cat Who Won’t Eat

Advice
Diabetic cats need to eat regularly to prevent an insulin overdose. Setting mealtimes for the cat, usually two to three times a day, will help regulate his body’s insulin levels. If your cat gets insulin injections, your vet will advise you about the right times to give these, usually twice a day, after the cat has digested a meal.